Orbital Mechanics-I


This article on Oribital Mechanics-I is written based on excerpts taken from “Chapter-13: Gravitaion” of my unpublished book on “Fundamentals of Newtonian Mechanics”. This is basically a kind of review paper addressing the fundamental mathematical tools that are required to understand the orbital mechanics. It is intended to inspire my present and past students and professor colleagues who are interested to develop the next generation “Deep Space Communication and Exploration of Solar System through Inter-Lagrangian Data Relay Satellite Constellation”, which was presentated by my students at iCubeSat 2019, the 8th Interplanetary CubeSat Workshop at the Politecnico di Milano, Milan, italy on 28-29 May 2019.


Rocket and space technology is based on the application of orbital mechanics or flight mechanics. Orbital mechanics deals with the motions of artificial satellites and space vehicles under the influence of gravity, atmospheric drag, and thrust. Orbital mechanics is a modern branch of celestial mechanics which is the study of the motions of natural celestial bodies such as the star, galaxies, moon and planets. Isaac Newton (1642-1727), a 17th century mathematician who put forward the laws of motion and formulated the law of universal gravitation is the theoretical founding principle of orbital mechanics. The engineering applications of orbital mechanics include ascent trajectories, reentry and landing, numerical modeling and simulations, lunar, interplanetary trajectories, communication satellites, space stations, space shuttles and inter-planetary communication.